Events going on in SWFL this week(12/4)

Written by Katie LaGace on . Posted in Events in Southwest Florida

Plenty going on in Southwest Florida this week.  Make sure to check out all there is to do this Holiday season!!


December 6: 🎁Sunset Celebration with Santa

December 7: 🎁Wicked Dolphin Open House

December 8: 🎁Fort Myers Christmas in the park

🎁Holiday Nights at Calusa Nature Center

🎁RDA Holidays

December 9: 🎁Cape Corals a very merry paradise Christmas

🎁Jingle Bell 5k & 10k

🎁A Christmas Story Outdoor Movie

December 10: 🎁Fort Myers Santa on the Farm

Debunking Myths To Home Buying

Written by Katie LaGace on . Posted in Blog



Finally ready to make the transition into home ownership? That’s awesome, and in this exciting time you can be turning to friends and family for an insight into the process. However, there seems to be a circulation of misinformation spreading around, so we’re here to clear up a few myths.


You know the saying, “Don’t put the cart before the horse,” well that’s important to remember when it comes to buying a home. You don’t want to start looking for a house until you have gotten to sit down with a lender and discuss what the bank will qualify you for. If you fall in love with a house that’s $250,000 and come to find out you’re only qualified for $200,000 you can get your hopes crushed and waste a lot of time. Don’t start the process on the wrong foot and make sure the numbers line up.


For starts, when buying a home, 99% of the time the buyer’s agent gets paid by the sellers. That random 1% can be for odd circumstances. So you’re getting to use the services of a real estate agent for free. Having a real estate agent on your side means you’ll get to see homes that aren’t as readily available on public searches, you avoid outdated listings and scammers (there are lots of them), and you have protection when it comes to navigating the legalities of contracts and buying a home. Why wouldn’t you want an awesome negotiator working to ensure you get the best from the transaction? For FREE!


Fortunately for some, this is a myth. Lenders and banks come by the hundreds of thousands and all though there are a few loan options, a lot of lenders can work with credit scores down to the low to mid 500’s. Get in touch with an agent to help you connect with the right lender who can help you potentially approved. There is a lot of factors that go into approvals, but your credit doesn’t have to be a sore thumb during the process. However, you will be doing yourself a favor if you connect with a credit repair specialist to at least get those numbers in the 600’s. A better score will lower you interest rate.


Think you have to sell an arm and a leg to buy a home? Not at all! An FHA loan only requires 3.5% while a conventional only requires 5%. There are a lot of programs that can potentially help you with down payment assistance or be 0% down mortgage. USDA and VA loans are the most popular 0% down programs. If you qualify, this can take a big chunk off the amount of cash you have to bring to the closing table.


Now that you have some knowledge to get the process started, get in touch with an agent who will help you get through the process as smoothly as possible.

3 Questions To Ask Before Buying Your 1st Home

Written by Katie LaGace on . Posted in Blog


The real estate market is constantly changing, so of course DO YOUR RESEARCH! DO NOT jump the gun on this one! Unbiased advice from family and peers may be kind, but you are the only one who knows what your needs are when it comes to buying a home.

Forget finances for a minute and focus on what made you consider even buying a home in the first place!

·      Is your family expanding?

·      Does your family feel safe?

·      Is there a STELLAR school system in the area so your     children can get the education they deserve?

·      How about that unbearable landlord?

DON’T SLEEP ON YOUR DECISION TOO LONG! Home prices are on the rise! Not only are they on their way back up, but these increases are happening monthly.

Don’t believe us? According to Existing Homes Sales Report from the National Association of Realtors (NAR), the average price of homes in May 2017 went up 5.8% from last year.

If you wait until next year to buy, you might be scrapping for change in the cushions to say the least! Not only will it cost you more to buy, but you will also need to increase your down payment to account for the higher price of the home.



The initial process of purchasing your home may seem easy and quick, but THERE IS MORE TOO IT! The ‘long term cost’ of buying a home WILL haunt you if you buy at the wrong time! Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA), and NAR have projected that mortgage interest rates will DEFINITLEY increase over the next twelve months. The smallest increase in mortgage rates can have a huge impact on a home owner.



If you and your family feel it is the right time to buy a home then GO FOR IT! Consider these points when making the final decision.

Don’t forget, this move is FOR YOU!

From “I Do” to Sold

Written by Katie LaGace on . Posted in Blog


Newlyweds are saying “I do” to each other, and equate to over half of first time home buyers that are also saying “I do” to their dream homes. It makes sense! When you put two hearts together, the time comes to find a home to nourish that love. A home that brings two of your places together, and makes it one. If you and your spouse are ready to fall in love with the perfect house together, here are five tips to make sure the process goes smoothly, and you come prepared.

1. YOUR WEDDING BUDGET: Your wedding is a one-time event that shouldn’t be less than what you’d imagine. It’s a beautiful time to put all of your dream pieces together. However, it’s best to sit down and find out ways you can shift the budget to help with your down payment for a home, if you plan to purchase. The average couple spends a little over $20,000 on their wedding. Even a savings of $5000 from your wedding budget can help with owning the perfect home.

2. WEDDING GIFTS: Wedding bliss comes with wedding gifts. Let’s admit, one of our favorite times during the wedding season is all of the gifts that come pouring in! Have any friends or family pitching in cash? Save that to put towards your down payment. And depending on the generosity of your gifts, you can even open an account dedicated to your down payment, that friends and family can gift to.

3. GET PRE-APPROVED: One of the least brought up conversations in relationships is the credit and financial history of your soon-to-be spouse. Get together with a lender to go over both of your histories to know what needs to be done to put you guys in a position to own together. In some cases, only one person can get approved, while the other can’t. If you want to put both of your incomes toward the cost of the house you want, talking to a lender early on can ensure you are prepared to make the right moves.

4. THE RIGHT AGENT: That’s where I come in! For starters, I can connect you with a lender to ensure you guys are being watched over from the best recommendations. And it’s an absolute joy to take the stress out of buying a home for my newly wed couples. We all know how stressful, although joyous, a wedding can be. To then jump into buying a house shortly after, well, it’s certainly a lot to get through. But I can guide you through all of the steps to make sure you end up with a house you love. Just think of me as a wedding planner, but for homes.

5. NOW THERE’S TWO: Although some spouses are a match made in heaven, loving and adoring the same exact things, often times that’s not the case with most couples. You still are your own persons, and have your own tastes. This is where the first step to comprise really begins. Spending a good bit of money on a place you both will love and call home. A happy marriage starts with a happy home, so be sure you both are considerate of each other’s wants and needs in style and location, so you both are happy with the home you end up getting.

Don’t Replace Your Agent With The Internet

Written by Katie LaGace on . Posted in Blog

With the influx of new technology and web based solutions, it isn’t a surprise that everything is moving fast into the era of the internet. From sites like Uber to Grubhub, we generally can pull up our phones or laptops to order what we want with ease. And with every industry being revolutionized by technology, the same methods are “attempting” to be applied to the real estate industry.

We could all agree that the simplification of the process through paperwork would be much appreciated by agents and buyers/sellers alike; but the attempt of replacing the agent by sites like Zillow and other third party resources, can lead to a snowball affect of disaster. Think about real estate being smack dab in the middle of fast food and a doctor. You can use your mobile device to quickly place your order for a $20 meal, but when it comes to getting a surgery, you’ll want to put that phone down and visit a professional. Now think of your real estate agent being in the middle of all of that. You can use your devices to look for a home, look at market data the way you look at WebMD, knowing not to take it too seriously because you need a real professional’s input, but it’s fun and gives you a general idea of what to expect. But there in lies the issue, the data online is an oversimplified version of what goes into the process of buying and selling. The same way it oversimplifies medical diseases and surgeries, you’d still expect to get a professional’s diagnosis.


Although a real estate agent isn’t quite like a doctor, the industry in it’s legalities, contracts, and processes is similar in the sense that it needs to be taken seriously. Looking for a house online and wanting to put an immediate offer on one can be exciting and fun, but the issues that require a professional’s guidance comes after the initial contract is written up and the hard work comes into place to actually make the home your own. Same for sellers, if you decide to put your home on the market and want a website that will give you an automatic offer, how do you know you’re not being taken advantage of in the price? But most importantly, how do you know you’re not being taken advantage of in other aspects of the contract? Because there is a lot more to the sale of the home then just agreeing on a number.

The next time you’re digging through public sites for homes for sale, and getting instant home valuation estimates, keep in mind that this is a simple process to give you an idea of your market. A very general idea. But after you’ve found the perfect house, or after you’ve decided that the numbers make some sense for you to sell, call your favorite real estate agent and make sure they give you a more detailed look into the market and assist you through the full process, not just the exciting first parts. Because it’s going to be in the middle of a contract when the lending is falling apart, or negotiations can’t be made on repairs and emotions are at an all time high, that you are going to wish you had put down your laptop and had an agent fighting for you by your side. Use the internet, have fun with it’s amazing resources, but don’t let it replace your agent. We aren’t in an age, just yet, where technology can do everything a professional can.


Written by Katie LaGace on . Posted in Blog

Home ownership rates are the lowest they have been in the last 50 years. Yet a large portion of Americans are still renting properties, instead of enjoying a home of their own. Consumer reports believe this is an issue because of a buyer’s lack of trust in their ability to purchase. It is still a long standing notion that a buyer needs 20% towards the cost of the home in order to move forward, but this isn’t tHOUSE HANDSrue. With countless down payment assistant programs, and closing cost roll-ins, a home owner could move in with as little as a few hundred to a couple thousand dollars. Which is a huge difference in the time it takes to save up to make the move.

With interest rates at an all time low, home ownership in today’s market is a great investment. The money saved over a mortgage’s lifespan can result in tens of thousands of dollars, if not hundreds. That’s more money in your pocket today. Don’t wait to buy when interest rates soar again. With low interest rates, that means your monthly mortgage payments are at a significantly lower cost, as well. With such a heated housing marketing, rental prices are soaring, and statistics are constantly showing that home ownership can be equivalent to your rental rate each month, if not less. Why get stuck in a small 2 bedroom apartment, if you can move into a home a pay a monthly rate that is the same, and get a 3 bedroom house with a great backyard?

There is also a fear that a home can keep you “stuck” or “rooted” to one place, without an easy transition out if you decide to move. Although the future of the housing market isn’t easily predictable from location to location, you can always discuss with your agent about buying a home in an area that has a strong turn-over rate when a home hits the market. The equity build up when it comes time to selling is going to be far more beneficial, than if you put money into a rental and decided to move. The money from selling the property can be used to purchase a new home. With renting, there would be no additional funds to transition into a new place.

Now imagine if you were renting a home for $2000/month. If your landlord is renting to make a profit, think how much less you’d be paying on a monthly basis towards your mortgage, if the home was yours. Then you wouldn’t be paying a landlord to profit off of you, you’d be paying a reasonable rate, and get to call the property your own. Discuss with your agent and lender the steps you need to take towards home ownership, you might be happily surprised about the type of home you can afford to move into.

2015 Another 2004 In SW Florida Real Estate?

Written by LaGace & Whitt on . Posted in Blog

By the end of 2004, real estate prices in SW Florida were rising at an accelerated pace. Sub-prime lending, zero interest loans, zero down payment and low interest ARMS that made home buying affordable to most consumers were being utilized to the fullest. With the increase in demand and a limited supply, home values began to sore. Florida reported an excess of 25% price increase from 2004 to 2005 setting real estate records.

New construction took off. If there aren’t enough homes on the market, what better time to start building them? SW Florida was a whirlwind of hammers, nails and construction vehicles clogging the roadways. The demand for new homes was at such an exorbitant rate builders could barely keep up… the US even ran out of drywall! (But that’s another story…)

Along came new rules cutting availability of sub-prime loans and the downward spiral began.

We all know what 2006-10 looked like in SW Florida, we’d like to forget, but we will always remember. Cape Coral was the epicenter and made world news for the record number of foreclosures. Once we hit bottom, we started climbing. By the end of 2013 the majority of foreclosures and short sales had washed through the system. Prices continued to climb at a steady, yet healthy rate. Cape Coral, Ft. Myers and the rest of Lee County started looking like a normal real estate market.

In 2014, permits for the new construction of single family homes increased 25.7%. A total of 2,999 single family permits were pulled by builders with 244 pulled in December.

Here we are, January of 2015. Everywhere you look you see a new home being constructed. Whether it is a luxury waterfront home or an entry level single family home on a non-waterfront lot, they are going up quickly. The inventory for existing homes is low. As it has always been for SW Florida, demand is high.

All the indicators are there. Lots are selling quickly, an easy way to turn a profit for even the smallest investor. Seems we are set to see that whirlwind of hammers, nails and construction vehicles clogging the roadways again. Our economy is growing and hopefully the harsh lessons of our previous boom will keep us in a healthy market.


Should I Sell My Cape Coral Home Now or Wait For Prices to Rise?

Written by LaGace & Whitt on . Posted in Blog

With home values on the rise in Cape Coral, many homeowners are asking themselves, “Should I sell my home now or wait for prices to rise further?” It is not a question that is simply answered and it is not a “one size fits all” answer to the question. In order to answer the question, Mr. Homeowner needs to ask himself a few other questions. (No, we aren’t answering a question with a question.)

First of all, Mr. Homeowner, what is your reason for selling right now? Do you need to relocate, downsize, is the family outgrowing your current home? If you have no immediate ‘need’ to sell, perhaps you may want to wait for the market to rise further… but before you do, answer a few more questions.

Mr. Homeowner, do you realize that if you wait for the market to rise, the price of the home that you purchase as a replacement will also rise? The mortgage rates that are now very good also stand a chance to rise. That will further add to your costs.

Have you ever heard that the Real Estate Market is cyclical in nature, Mr. Homeowner?   If you look backthrough the history of Real Estate you will see a trend. The market rises and falls and rises again. Are you willing to take the chance that the market is going to continue to rise and not start to turn downward?

Mr. Homeowner, have you taken a drive around our great city of Cape Coral recently? If so, you have surely seen all of the new homes under construction. While that is a great sign for our city and for our economy, it is not such a great thing for you. You are going to be competing with new construction. If Mr. and Mrs. Buyer can purchase a brand spanking new home for, let’s say even $100k more than your home, and they qualify for that amount, which one do you think they are going to buy? Yep, they are going to go for the bells and whistles!

One more question for you Mr. Homeowner. Remember a few years ago when NO ONE could sell their home because they were so upside down with their mortgage?  With home values on the rise, many of those homeowners are now turning right side up and able to sell their home. Just take a look at all of the homes for sale on our website  What does that mean for you, Mr. Homeowner? That means more inventory. Inventory = Your Competition. The greater the number of houses on the market, the market then turns into a buyer’s market. Even if you are competitive in nature, you probably aren’t willing to risk dollars out of your wallet.

Now, Mr. Homeowner, take a look at the answers you gave to our questions. You should have a pretty good idea of what you want/need to do. So the next step is, mow your grass, tidy up the house and have it all pretty for us to come over and take a virtual tour. Your house will be the star of the housing market by the weekend!